Furthermore, the West Zone selectors have even overlooked him while picking the squad for the upcoming Deodhar Trophy that begins in Puducherry from July 24.
Tushar Deshpande. Pic/Ashish Raje
Mumbai pacer Tushar Deshpande, 28, claimed 67 wickets across all formats last season (2022-23), including 21 scalps to finish as the highest wicket-taker for IPL-16 champions Chennai Super Kings. He is also the only speedster in the West Zone squad to bowl at a consistent 140kmph-plus. Yet, somehow he’s warming the bench in the Duleep Trophy final against South Zone which began in Bangalore on Wednesday. Furthermore, the West Zone selectors have even overlooked him while picking the squad for the upcoming Deodhar Trophy that begins in Puducherry from July 24.
Former Mumbai chief selector and current Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) Advisor Milind Rege reckons Deshpande is a victim of quota system. “West Zone is nothing but a quota-system selection, where selectors from different state teams push their own players. This so-called adjustment policy in zonal selection has been a thing for the last 50 years,” Rege told mid-day on Wednesday, when asked why he felt Deshpande is being ignored.
On Monday, MCA Secretary Ajinkya Naik convened the West Zone selection committee meeting with selectors Raju Kulkarni (MCA), Rishikesh Parab (Baroda CA), Kirat Damani (Gujarat CA), Sangram Atitkar (Maharashtra CA) and Rajesh Garsondia (Saurashtra CA) to pick a 15-member squad for the Deodhar Trophy. The selectors picked four pacers—Gujarat duo Chintan Gaja (15 wickets in 2022-23 Vijay Hazare Trophy) and Arzan Nagwaswala (12 wickets), Baroda’s Atit Sheth (five wickets and 132 runs) and Maharashtra’s Rajvardhan Hangargekar (15 wickets) for the Deodhar Trophy.
However, Desphande, who claimed six wickets in the 2022-23 Vijay Hazare Trophy and helped Mumbai clinch the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 17 scalps, could only make the stand-by list. Interestingly, Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube, who did not play a single Vijay Hazare Trophy game last season, found a place in the West Zone side on the back of a fine show (418 runs) for CSK in IPL-16. “If IPL performance of some players is taken into consideration then that should be a standard procedure for all. Tushar has performed brilliantly in the IPL, so why hasn’t he been picked?” asked Rege.